The Purple Pinup Guru Platform

When purple things are pulsating on your mind, I'm the one whose clock you want to clean. Aiding is Sparky, the Astral Plane Zen Pup Dog from his mountain stronghold on the Northernmost Island of the Happy Ninja Island chain, this blog will also act as a journal to my wacky antics at an entertainment company and the progress of my self published comic book, The Deposit Man which only appears when I damn well feel like it. Real Soon Now.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Indulging in some geekery that reminds me of the old MetaWeb

Last Jews of Calcutta have one last guardian

Sep 20, 11:08 AM (ET)

(AP) Shalom Israel, one of the last Jews of Calcutta, lights candles and prays in three existing...
Full Image

CALCUTTA, India (AP) - The stooped man in the yarmulke fights his way through this chaotic city, the weight of generations heavy upon his shoulders.

He squeezes past tea stalls and sidewalk electricians, past idle rickshaws and honking cars. He edges through rows of vendors selling sparkly hair clips and, finally, pushes open a rusty gate hidden from the street.

Today is the Sabbath, and Shalom Israel, one of the last Jews of Calcutta, has reached a cobwebbed synagogue, a once-grand building with imposing doors that nearly always stay shuttered, and spires that soar up toward the monsoon clouds.

Israel comes every Friday to light a candle, say a prayer, and check on the three synagogues still standing, however precariously, as relics of a passed era of plenty. Most weeks, he is the only visitor.

There were once 5,000 Jews living in this teeming port city, but today, as the Jewish New Year approaches, there are fewer than 35. Israel, 38 with a thin beard, is the youngest by nearly 25 years.

Israel lives inside the only place left where Jews aren't a minority - the Jewish cemetery. He cares for the graves of his father, his great-grandparents, his uncles and his aunts, along with more than 2,000 other Jewish tombs.

He also tends to the two dozen Jewish elders still living, handles the last rites when they die, and, to stay kosher, butchers his own meat.

It's not easy being the last of your people.

"It's only a matter of time before people die or leave," said Israel. "There is no future ... The inevitable, I can't fight."

(AP) Shalom Israel, one of the last Jews of Calcutta, comes out of the Mevi Shalon Synagogue encroached...
Full Image
Indeed, repopulating the community would be tough. There aren't many unmarried Jewish women in Calcutta - Israel is single and doesn't know any women younger than 60. His sister married a Hindu, for which the elders shunned her. The last Jewish wedding anyone can remember was in 1982.

He is weary from Calcutta's midsummer heat, and from the responsibility of caring for his ancestors' legacy. He's well aware that a centuries-old community will likely die with him, but he sees nothing to do but tend to its remnants and blow on the fading embers.

"I've seen what the community was. To see the way it is now..." He trails off mid-sentence.

Israel survives on a combination of odd jobs, but his health is poor, his nerves frayed by his multiple responsibilities. He usually keeps his skullcap in his pocket because he tires of explaining its significance, but at the end of the day, when he's in a taxi heading back to his solitary shed inside the cemetery, he takes it out and puts it on, exhaling for what seems like the first time all day.

In this country of 1.1 billion people, there are believed to be roughly 5,000 Jews - not enough to be counted as a distinct group in the Indian census. Jews first came to India as traders some 250 years ago, and today their largest community is in Mumbai, the country's most cosmopolitan city.

(AP) S. K. Nassir, 72, right, one of the caretakers of the Beth El Synagogue stands beside a stone...
Full Image
Calcutta's first Jews are thought to have come in the late 18th century, descendants of the Baghdad Jews who came from Syria, Iran and Iraq. They thrived as diamond traders, real estate dealers, exporters, spice wholesalers, and bakers - one Jewish bakery famous for its plum cakes still stands, run by the founder's octogenarian grandson. Rickshaws and taxis still ply Synagogue Street and other roads named for prominent Jews.

The Jewish community built at least five synagogues and two schools. Today, there are 700 students at the Elias Meyer Free School and Talmud Torah. Not one is Jewish, and nothing particularly Jewish is taught there.

In the 1930s and 1940s, Calcutta was a bustling, raucous hub, and Jews formed a solid minority, their wedding parties and religious feasts flowing down the temple steps. Jews were players at the popular horse track - Israel remembers his father's racehorses, Onslaught, War Dance and Black Toy - and they were regulars at the fashionable restaurants. Jews rarely faced discrimination, mainly because "no one knew who we were," said Ian Zackariah, 64.

As a community, "We were too small to bully," he said. "There were so many other people to beat up - Hindus vs. Muslims, high castes vs. lower castes. Who's going to pick on us?"

The birth of independent India in 1947, and the creation of Israel the following year, marked the beginning of the end for Calcutta's Jews. Many left for the new Jewish state; others moved to Europe or the United States in search of better business opportunities.

(AP) Ian Zachariah, a Jewish freelance writer, poses with his Gramophone record player in Calcutta...
Full Image
Some stayed behind, but life was different. During services, women left the temple balcony, where they used to sit in keeping with Jewish custom, and sat with the men in the main hall - the synagogue felt too empty otherwise. Slowly, the Jewish butchers put away their knives, the bakers turned off their ovens, the teachers boxed up their Hebrew books.

The stalwarts stayed to care for their aging parents, to raise their children or simply because Calcutta was home.

Aline Cohen, 62 was born after the community's heyday, but she still remembers rowdy festivals and packed synagogues. Now, there aren't enough able-bodied men to form a minyan, the quorum necessary for services, and no one but Israel regularly visits the temples. The Jews rarely get together except at funerals, and sometimes not even then.

"It is lonely," said Cohen, whose three children were raised in Calcutta but have since left. "We all have non-Jewish friends, but ... there's a spiritual loneliness. You miss Sabbath services... You miss the feeling of community."

Shalom Israel never really knew what it was to be part of a community. His only Jewish peers are his younger brother, who is preparing to move to Israel, and his younger sister.

(AP) Seikh Osim, right, shows a portrait of David Joseph Ezra, the pioneer of building synagogues in...
Full Image
Israel lives in a small, cluttered shed inside the Jewish cemetery, just steps from his father's grave. Visitors may find the arrangement macabre, but he says it offers him peace inside a frenzied city.

"I find the living more dangerous to deal with than the dead," he jokes. "I have very easy neighbors."

Cohen worries about Shalom Israel and what will happen to him after the elders are gone. She says he should move to Israel, but he won't.

"If I go to Israel when I'm 40 or 50, what's the point?" he said.

Besides, he says, the Jews of Calcutta need him.

He ticks off his to-do list: take several elders to the doctor, take others to the dentist, take another to a hearing test; check on the temples, trim the overgrown cemetery foliage, visit the infirm living alone.

He gets paid by the community for all this, but he says the work is important not because of the money but because "it gives me meaning, a matter of belonging."

"The community is dwindling to almost nothing," he said. "I am trying to keep it surviving as much as I can."

A blast from the past - the archived QuickSilver Wiki



I guess the Holocaust Education and Avoidance Pod (HEAP) seems to partly resemble Rabbi Marvin Hier's Museum of Tolerance which is part of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Though with Avi's assessment of the Spanish being better than the Aztecs - we need to also examine the avoidance mechanisms - arming yourself. Appalachian Hillbilly might be one aspect of the Shaftoe's American experience. Though Homer Hickam shows that one can transcend humble roots. I think most of us agree that education also implies vigilance and defense of one's family from thuggery. Doug tried to explain to Avi that homebrew rifling can be trickier than it seems.

Authored entries

Simon Wiesenthal Center

Rabbi Marvin Hier

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is an international Jewish human rights organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust by fostering tolerance and understanding through community involvement, educational outreach and social action. The Center confronts important contemporary issues including racism, antisemitism, terrorism and genocide and is accredited as an NGO both at the United Nations and UNESCO. With a membership of over 400,000 families, the Center is headquartered in Los Angeles and maintains offices in New York, Toronto, Miami, Jerusalem, Paris and Buenos Aires.

Established in 1977, the Center closely interacts on an ongoing basis with a variety of public and private agencies, meeting with elected officials, the U.S. and foreign governments, diplomats and heads of state. Other issues that the Center deals with include: the prosecution of Nazi war criminals; Holocaust and tolerance education; Middle East Affairs; and extremist groups, neo-Nazism, and hate on the Internet.

The Center is headed by Rabbi Marvin Hier, its Dean and Founder. Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the Associate Dean and Rabbi Meyer May is the Executive Director.

Rabbi Marvin Hier is the dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its acclaimed Museum of Tolerance. In 1977, following a visit to Holocaust sites in Europe, Rabbi Hier came to Los Angeles to create the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Under his leadership, the Center has become one of the foremost Jewish human rights agencies in the world, with a constituency of more than 400,000 families. The Center maintains offices throughout the United States, and in Canada, Europe, Israel and Argentina.

Noted for his powerful oratory, his views on issues of the day are regularly sought by the international media and his editorials have appeared in newspapers across the United States. In 1990, a Los Angeles Times Magazine cover story on Rabbi Hier noted that he has made the Simon Wiesenthal, "the most visible Jewish organization in the world".

Rabbi Hier meets regularly with world leaders to discuss the Center's agenda -- a wide range of issues including worldwide antisemitism, the resurgence of neo-Nazism and international terrorism. Among those with whom he has dialogued are U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Bill Clinton; His Royal Majesty, King Hussein I of Jordan; Israeli Prime Ministers Menachem Begin, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Shamir, Yitzhak Rabin and Benjamin Netanyahu; Pope John Paul II; French Presidents Francois Mitterand and Jacques Chirac; Czech President Vaclav Havel; and United Nations Secretary Generals Perez de Guellar and Boutros Boutros Ghali. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, his dialogue with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl led to a critical debate on German reunification and the need for 'deutsche memory'.

Rabbi Hier is the founder of Moriah, the Center's film division, and is the recipient of two Academy Awards - in 1997, as co-producer of THE LONG WAY HOME, which offers new insights into the critical post WWII period between 1945 and 1948 and the plight of the tens of thousands of refugees who survived the Holocaust, and in 1981 as co-producer and co-writer for GENOCIDE, a documentary on the Holocaust. In 1990, he wrote and co-produced the award-winning ECHOES THAT REMAIN, a documentary on pre-world War II European Jewish life, and in 1994, Hier produced and co-wrote, LIBERATION, the first production of Moriah Films. Under Rabbi Hier's direction, the Wiesenthal Center has served as consultant to Steven Spielberg's epic Schindler's List, and ABC Television's miniseries adaptation of Herman Wouk's novel, War and Remembrance.

Several years ago Rabbi Hier keynoted an historic conference on antisemitism and the struggle for tolerance which was co-sponsored by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, convened at UNESCO's international headquarters in Paris. He is the recipient of an honorary degree and many awards, in 1993 was made a Cheval

Wikipedia: Simon Wiesenthal

Simon Wiesenthal, KBE (December 31, 1908 – September 20, 2005), was an Austrian Nazi hunter. Wiesenthal dedicated most of his life to tracking down and gathering information on fugitive Nazi war criminals so that they could be brought to trial.
Simon Wiesenthal

Wiesenthal himself is a survivor of the Holocaust: He was interned in several concentration camps, but was liberated by American forces in 1945. In 1977, he established the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Holocaust memorial agency named after himself, as well as a documentation center dedicated to tracking down Nazi war criminals.

He and his Vienna-based Jewish Documentation Center were instrumental in the capture and conviction of the main engineer of the Endlösung, Adolf Eichmann. Wiesenthal also helped find Karl Silberbauer, the Gestapo officer responsible for the arrest of Anne Frank: his confession helped falsify claims that the Anne Frank diary was a forgery.

In the 1970s he got caught up in Austrian politics when he pointed out that several ministers in Bruno Kreisky's newly formed Socialist government had been Nazis while Austria was part of the Third Reich. Kreisky, himself Jewish, attacked Wiesenthal as a Nestbeschmutzer (someone who dirties their own nest).

In April 2003, Wiesenthal announced his retirement, saying that he had found the mass murderers he had been looking for: "I have survived them all. If there were any left, they'd be too old and weak to stand trial today. My work is done." According to Wiesenthal, the only Austrian war criminal still alive is Alois Brunner, Eichmann's right-hand man, who is said to be hiding in Syria.

In February 2004 Britain decided to award an honorary knighthood to Wiesenthal in recognition of a "lifetime of service to humanity." The knighthood also recognized the work of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The character of Yakov Liebermann in Ira Levin's novel The Boys from Brazil is modelled on Wiesenthal, and Wiesenthal makes an appearance as a minor character in Frederick Forsyth's The Odessa File, providing information to a German journalist attempting to track down a Nazi war criminal.

Hillbilly Rifling a Kentucky Rifle Barrel

Proto-HEAP types
like the
Secret Admirers
like long guns
as they can't be
viewed as
concealed weapons
Rifling a barrel yourself is possible but is potentially dangerous. Many a Kentucky rifle barrel has been turned out by an Appalachian hillbilly using basic tools, resulting in a firearm renowned for accuracy.

WARNING: if not done well, this can result in bullets lodging within the barrel without the knowledge of the shooter. The next round could kill the shooter if the obstruction is not noticed and cleared.

The process of hillbilly rifling is well established:

  1. first you need to create a screw with the proper rifling. With such imprecise machining, too tight a rifling will be more prone to bullets hanging and becoming obstructions.
  2. take a length of wood dowel made from a hardwood, but which is green, at least 1-2" dia and at least 6" longer than the length of your intended barrel.
  3. take 4 lengths of twine and attach them to one end of the dowel, wrapping them around the dowel at 90 degree intervals in a screw pattern down the length of the dowel. This screw pattern should have as many inches per turn as the intended rifling of your barrel. For home-made arms, this should be at most 1 turn in 20 inches if not more inches. Kentucky rifles generally ranged in turn ratios of between 1:24 up to 1:40.
  4. anchor the twine to the opposite end such very taughtly, such there is very little slack.
  5. burn the twine off evenly, such that when it is gone, a soot pattern remains on the dowel marking the desired screw ratio.
  6. it is now a matter of patient hand whittling grooves into the dowel where those marks are. I've seen old time photos of appalachian grannies on their porch, in rocking chairs, smoking a pipe, and whittling grooves into a dowel to make a rifling screw.
  7. you then use heat to harden the wood of this screw. Keep in mind that lengths of wood dowel will shorten by 1-5% when dried and hardened in this manner, so plan accordingly.
  8. now that you have your rifling screw, you need your scoring bit. This can be a jig that is attached to the end of the dowel which holds on it several bits of hardened carbide steel. For the skilled gunsmith machinist, these can be made by filing pieces of heat softened steel of the desired shape, then putting them through a hardening process.
  9. the jig should be a block that the carbide bits are bolted to, attached to a cable or steel rod that is small enough to fit inside the barrel you intend to rifle (the jig should be that small as well).
  10. you need to build a rack that will hold your barrel stable and secure, while being able to use the screw to either push or pull the scoring jig through the barrel. The screw is to determine the rate at which the jig is turned as it passes through the barrel. To apply pressure to this screw, you should use another steel screw of very tight turn ratio on it to apply high mechanical advantage to the wood screw.
  11. use this rack to score the grooves into the smoothbore barrel. Grooves scored properly in this manner should have a very even turn pattern. Any jerks or jags in the turn pattern make the barrel useless, because bullets will lodge themselves at those points in the barrel.

If this process sounds like something you could do in your home workshop, have at it. CAVEAT EMPTOR. Don't say I didn't warn you that shoddy workmanship can get people killed. It can, it has, and it will. If you are dumb enough to think you can do this, I HIGHLY recommend you practice on at least a dozen or so barrels before actually firing a bullet from the best one.

FINAL WARNING: Kentucky rifles were muzzle loading weapons firing with black powder. Black powder burns differently than smokeless powder and is more forgiving of poor tolerances than modern ammo. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you restrict your rifling activities to black powder muzzle loading arms until you become expert in this technique. Rifling in the old days was a skill of immense value, not even a science, but a rare art. Don't die, or worse, cause others to die, for your art.

For the Intelligent Rifler

Long Gun
A Kentucky Rifle Is Not Easily Concealed

If the above sounds like a recipe for death and dismemberment, you can stock up on barrel blanks from any number of barrel manufacturers pretty cheaply, or else invest in a manufactured rifle turning press. Producing rifling to a precise degree of accuracy requires real machinery. If you have a home screw-making machine (these are available) such are a requirement for a HEAP if you intend on manufacturing rifled weapons.

Gale McMillan says the following about the three methods of rifling a barrel:

"There are three basic types of barrels. The oldest in use today is the cut rifle barrel. It is made by pulling a cutter through the barrel scraping metal away from the bore in a spiral. The uniformity of dimension depends on the even homogenization of the alloys and the uniformity of the hardness of the steel. This method does not make as dimensionally uniform barrels as the other methods. Buttoned barrels are made by pulling a carbide button which is several thousands of an inch larger than the diameter of the bore. This button is shaped like a football with groves cut into it on a helix of the twist desired. The button expands the bore out to grove diameter but leaves the area under the groves at bore diameter. This forms the rifling. This type of rifle barrel has held most of the national and world records over the past 40 years. Although most high power shooters will argue, you can't change the records. I saw button tooling in the barrel shop at Parker Hale that dated back to the mid 30s, but it didn't get popular here until after the second war. The third method is hammer forging that came along when the large manufacturers decided to sacrifice quality for speed and cost. This method pounds a piece of steel that has a hole in it over a mandrel that has the rifling cut into it. It swages the barrel down to the desired measurement in a very short time. There is 2 types of hammer machines, one starts with the barrel blank at finished length and hammers straight down as the blank is pulled under the hammer. The other type starts with a billet 8 or 10 inches in length and kneads the steel over the mandrel in the final shape. This method sometimes forges the chamber at the same time. When you hammer a barrel over a mandrel it has a certain amount of spring back. Otherwise you wouldn't be able to get the mandrel out. This also causes it to be dimensionally inaccurate.Of all the methods used today Hammer forging makes barrels faster and cheaper but of poorer quality. There are barrels being made by electro discharge (EDM) and a few pistol barrels are made this way but for the present time it isn't used enough to consider it a method."

Easy Polygonal Rifling for the Home Machinist

Okay, to reliably rifle barrels in a relatively easy manner, you will need the following:

  1. A cold/hot metal rolling press
  2. A forge
  3. An anvil and blacksmiths tools
  4. A hydraulic press or a manual screw press with high mechanical advantage
  5. A milling machine
  6. A metal lathe

Don't got this stuff? Oh, well, time to make some new friends.

Step 1: Once you have this equipment available/on hand, you want to obtain some lengths of square, cold rolled, steel bar stock. The square dimension should be pretty damn close to the desired caliber barrel you wish to rifle (i.e. 1/4" for .25 caliber, .30 inch for .30 caliber, .45 inch for .45 caliber, 9mm for 9mm, .40" for .40 caliber, etc). You can obtain this sort of thing at any steel supply company.

Step 2: You want an octogon: if your steel supply company cannot supply you with octagonal hot rolled steel, you need to make your own. This is what the rolling press is for. For you non-engineer she-male types it is essentially like a pasta rolling press, only a lot more manly (hoo-raw). The press needs an octagonal die that will take your square rolled barstock and produce octagonal barstock. Once you have it set up, first take your barstock over to your forge (assuming you've got the forge going and its HOT) and heat it up so its a dull red hot (not bright red or yellow or white hot). We are gonna be hot rolling this puppy. Cold rolling is when they roll out barstock cold to touch (it comes out pretty hot from this process), relying on pressure instead of heat to do the work.

Step 3: Roll it: Now that it is hot, run it through the roller. It should come out octagonal. It should not be so hot that your bar stock droops at all, as you don't want this getting out of alignment, as this is going to be the mandril for imposing rifling on your barrel. After it has cooled, make sure that your barstock still has the desired caliber dimensions on its cross section, measured flat to flat.

Step 4: Round it: Now that your octagonal barstock has cooled down, you need to lathe off the sharp edges. Mount this barstock into the lathe and use the autolathing fuctions to 1/4 of each face at each edge. This will produce a 16 sided cross section where every other face is rounded. The resulting proper width of each face should be determined by applying the desired caliber to the following equation:

C-2\frac{C}{2+\sqrt2}=FaceWidth,\ where\ C=Caliber,\ measuring\ the\ bar\ stock\ hot.

If you want to determine how much metal to remove to reach this point, apply the desired caliber to the following equation to determine the proper finished radius at the edge of each flat and rounded face:


NOTE: This equation can also be used to calculate the proper exact dimensions of your octagonal bar stock. Mandril Radius should be maybe 5 thousandths or so larger than the actual radius of the bullet diameter.

Step 5: Twister: Now you are probably wondering, "Where is the twist?" Well, that's what we are going to do right now. Put the mandril back in the forge and heat up to a dull red heat. Now place one end in a vice, the other in a pair of locking pliers, and twist it to the proper turn ratio. This is the method used to twist bar stock that you see in wrought iron gates and rails. An average pistol ammunition like 9mm or .40 S&W should have a turn ratio of 1:10", while higher power rounds like .357 Magnum should have longer twist rates, like 1:16". These twist ratios are nearly identical to those used in current Glock semi-auto handguns for these calibers.

Step 6: Get to the point: You are probably wondering how you are going to jam this mandril down the bore of a barrel. Firstly, you need to make part of your mandril a starter ramp, so go back to the lathe, and lathe a pencil point (but not quite all the way through) near one end of the mandril. Give it an easy ramp of 2-4".

Step 7: Make it hard: You are also wondering how you are going to force the cross section of your mandril into the bore of the barrel. You need to harden your mandril. Studying some basic metallurgy will help with this, but simple hardening, called case hardening, is possible simply by heating your mandril up and packing it in black carbon ash until it cools. This will harden the surface of the mandril enough to be useful.

Step 8: Drive it home: Now that your mandril is prepared, you want to take your barrel blank and heat it up till it is a dull red. Then place the barrel in the press, and after dipping your cooled mandril in oil, liquid graphite or teflon, drive the mandril through the bore of the barrel with the press. This will force the slighly larger impression of the mandril rifling pattern on the barrel bore, and because it is a constant twist, it will make that impression precise and steady. Use a punch to drive the mandril out of the barrel and let the barrel cool. After cooling, clean the barrel well and you should see that the rifling has become embedded in the barrel bore.

You should optimally wind up with a mandril such that the center of the flat faces are a few thousanths smaller than the bullet diameter while the peaks of the rounded faces are a few thousandths larger than the bullet diameter. This will cause the bullet to deform to the shape of the polygon.

Finally: you need to mill out the proper chamber dimensions. The SAAMI manual linked to below has proper dimensional information for every registered cartridge on the planet. You may also want to countersink the muzzle bore end, as this protects the end rifling against dings. You can lathe the barrel blank down to the desired dimensions, thread the receiver end, and perform whatever hardening heating, or cryogenic destressing, you wish. I recommend against tapering your barrel down too much without really consulting some engineering equations regarding the chamber pressures and wall thickness needed. When you finish building your gun, you should be able to 'proof' test the barrel by shooting 2-5 cartridges loaded with 150% of a standard load without damaging the barrel at all. Proof testing should be performed in a rig, pulling the trigger via string, and standing well back of the gun, with nobody else on the range.

Unrifled Weapons

Gyrojet Pistol

Truly Few Attain the Level
of Cool, Boomer kids assocciate with
James Bond
The Gyrojet pistol had its' 15 minutes of fame in the James Bond film - You Only Live Twice. It was a 10mm pistol produced in the 60's which did not fire bullets, it fired 10mm rockets. Ammo was pricey ($2.50 per rocket when that was real money) and less accurate than conventional ammo (due to, I think, poor tolerances in manufacturing the ammo). I highly recommend this sort of weapon as an alternative to rifling barrels until you are an expert rifler with established facilities.


Shotguns do not require rifling, and so should be much easier to make, and safer to use, than trying to hack together a rifle from scratch. They also have significantly lower chamber pressures, which is additional safety feature. From a ballistic standpoint, however, double ought buckshot is considered ballistically superior to even .45 ACP pistol ammo against normal human beings. As a means of taking out a stormtrooper in order to take HIS gun, this is likely something HEAPsters should focus on.

Unrifled military weapons

  1. The Liberator, a single shot, unrifled handgun produced by US toy manufacturers for less than a buck during WWII, these were airdropped to resistance fighters to use against Axis soldiers in order to take their weapons from them. The Liberator has been known to fire as many as a dozen rounds before becoming non-functional. It is a poor military cousin of the elegant blued pre-war Colt M1911A1 .45 caliber pistols.
  2. Recoilless Rifle, also know as a Bazooka, this is a tube launched shoulder fired missile used against vehicles and armor, while specialized anti-aircraft versions, like the Stinger and the Kestrel are also popular with infantry units.

Related entries

External links Though a Japanese woman with a bazooka has appeal always ...

The point is to educate potential victims of future holocausts. Ask me to solve Dafur?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sparky: Let's Get Confirmation that McCain is Called "ACE" for crashing 6 US planes leading to his 5 1/2 years as a POW and his debut as Songbird. ZOMG! — he was a worse pilot than even Bob Dornan! And not as cool even — he never flew relief to Biafrans!


  • In yet another display of ignorance covered up by mindless bluster, John McCain surrogate Randy Sheunemann explains that McCain knows Jose Luis Zapatero is the prime minister of Spain, knows Spain is in Europe, but still insists that the would-be president refuses to "commit to a White House meeting" with the Spanish PM. Of course, there is the small detail of being legally bound in a mutual defense pact with Spain via NATO.
  • At her first town hall meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan last night, Sarah Palin challenged the crowd to ask her about "specifics with specific policy or countries, go ahead and you can ask me. You can even play stump the candidate if you want to!" Unfortunately for Palin the audience took her up on the offer and McCain had to bail her out before she was asked any questions.
  • Speaking of Palin fever, when John McCain spoke after her in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, crowds began filing out five minutes into the his stand-alone speech.
  • The Washington Post has a front-page story on the potential Election Day chaos that might befall polling places due to high turnout and eleventh-hour new registrants. I read stories like this and I'm reminded why I think Election Day should be a national holiday.
  • US News has a good report on the Obama campaign's sophisticated manipulation of Google results to debunk viral rumors about the candidate. In other tech news, Bloomberg reports on Obama's use of Catalist, a likely voter database developed by Harold Ickes over four years for $15 million and modeled after the Republicans' VoterVault. "Catalist collects and stores millions of pieces of information from public records and commercial sources. In addition to voting rolls and tax information, it also has data about voters' magazine subscriptions and their cars. Campaigns also contribute e-mails, cell-phone numbers and even times when people are likely to be home."
  • The GOP gets all multicultural, dispatching George "macaca" Allen to a rally in Fairfax Country, Virginia to get minorities to vote for the Republican ticket. James Inhofe, on the other hand, sticks with the traditional GOP playbook to defend his Oklahoma Senate seat from Andrew Rice, portraying the Democrat as a homosexual. Stay Classy, Jim.
  • I was on the fence on this offshore drilling issue (the federal moratorium was lifted this week) but John McCain makes a pretty good case here: "And by the way, on that oil rig -- and I’m sure you’ve probably heard this story -- you look down, and there’s fish everywhere! There’s fish everywhere! Yeah, the fish love to be around those rigs. So not only can it be helpful for energy, it can be helpful for some pretty good meals as well." Uh, ok.
  • I'll confess it: my knowledge of Brazilian politics is lacking, for I find this highly amusing: "at least six Brazilian politicians have officially renamed themselves 'Barack Obama' in a bid to get an edge over their rivals in October's municipal elections. "In truth it was an accident," says Belford Roxo's Obama, an IT consultant who is bidding to become the city's first black mayor. "I'd been on the television wearing a suit and people thought I looked a bit like him so they started calling me Barack Obama. They'd see me in the street and shout: 'Hey! Barack!" So I decided to register it.'"

--Mori Dinauer


In her Cedar Rapids stop with John McCain, Sarah Palin actually made reference to a "Palin-McCain administration"

It's pretty amusing. I have the video posted if you want to check it out.

Sheldon Alberts: There'll be no welcome mat at McCain White House for Spanish leader

WASHINGTON – Memo to John McCain: Spain is in Europe and – last time anyone checked – still one of America’s NATO allies.

The Republican presidential candidate has sparked an uproar among Spaniards after suggesting the nation was hostile to U.S. interests, and indicating the country’s prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, would not be welcome in a McCain-led White House.

During a radio interview this week with a Miami-based radio station, McCain repeatedly rebuffed questions about whether he would extend an invitation for the leftist Zapatero to visit the White House.

“All I can tell you is that I have a clear record of working with leaders in the hemisphere that are friends with us and standing up to those who are not,” he said. “And that’s judged on the basis of the importance of our relationship with Latin America and the entire region.”

When the interviewer clarified she was talking about Europe – and specifically the leader of Spain - McCain sounded perplexed.

“What about me, what?” he responded.

In all, McCain said four times he was interested only in meeting with leaders who wanted to work in co-operation with the United States. He never mentioned Zapatero by name, prompting several U.S. media outlets to conclude McCain didn’t know who the interviewer was talking about.

Leading up to the questions on Spain, McCain had spoken of U.S. relations with Latin America and ruled out unconditional meetings with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Bolivia’s Evo Morales and Cuba’s Raul Castro.

“Would that invitation be extended to the Zapatero government?” the reporter asked.

“I can assure you I will establish closer relations with our friends and I will stand up to those who want to do harm to the United States of America,” McCain responded.

The Spanish press has not been impressed.

“In the best-case scenario, (McCain) demonstrates his ignorance with respect to Zapatero,” said El Pais newspaper.

There was speculation Thursday, however, that McCain couldn’t understand the interviewer, who spoke in heavily-accented English.

McCain’s campaign insisted Thursday that, no, he understand the questions just fine.

“The questioner asked several times about Senator McCain's willingness to meet Zapatero, and ID'd him in the question so there is no doubt Senator McCain knew exactly to whom the question referred,” Randy Schuenemann, a campaign foreign policy adviser, said in an e-mail to U.S. media outlets. “Senator McCain refused to commit to a White House meeting with President Zapatero in this interview.”

U.S. relations with Zapatero’s socialist government have been strained since Spain’s decision to withdraw its troops from Iraq in 2004, after the Madrid train bombing. He has never had a bilateral meeting with President George W. Bush.

Spain has about 1,000 troops in Afghanistan.

Earlier this year, McCain told a Spanish interviewer it was time for the U.S. to “leave behind discrepancies with Spain” and said he “would like” for Zapatero to visit America.

John McCain Makes Spanish Gaffes During Interview
Posted September 18, 2008

Where is Spain, John McCain?

Republican Presidential John McCain showed some confusion Wednesday night about the identity of the Prime Minister of Spain and exactly where that country of 40 million people is located.

In an interview with a Florida affiliate of Spain's Union Radio, McCain was asked, if elected president, would he invite Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to the White House.

"I would be willing to meet with those leaders who are friends and want to work with us in a cooperative fashion," McCain said. He then mentioned Mexican President Calderon, who he said "is fighting a very tough fight against the drug cartels."

When the reporter repeated that he was talking about Spain, McCain responded: "I know the issues, I know the leaders."

Asked again if he would invite Zapatero, McCain shot back:

"All I can tell you is that I have a clear record of working with leaders in the Hemisphere that are friends with us and standing up to those who are not and that's judged on the basis of the importance of our relationship with Latin America and the entire region."

Spain is a longtime NATO ally, has nearly 1,000 soldiers fighting with the U.S. in Afghanistan, and was the target one of the worst Al Qaeda attacks in 2004.

It is also happens to be located in Europe, not the Western Hemisphere - and Zapatero is no johnny-come-lately: He's been in office for four years.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

NSFW: You want tits and monsters? Viola! But they're as fake as her kindness. Seriously ... Cheney's blank clone doesn't know they're prepping his brain for his new body.

Palin Disinvited From Anti-Iran Rally

Palin On Biden: "I Think He Was First Elected When I Was Like In Second Grade"

Sparky: Pure Fakery 4 Guru:

The real problem is that no matter what they do she will always have that mean face, isn't it? I mean WTF? Aren't they as bad as Hillary as a Bondage Queen?

Sarah Palin, by the Numbers

Sarah Palin may lie, but numbers don't. Her record speaks for itself:

2007: the year in which Sarah Palin first obtained a passport (Source)

312: the number of nights during her first 19 months in office that Palin charged taxpayers a "per diem" totaling $16,951 for staying in her own home -- an allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business (Source)

$500 to $1,200: the fee that Wasilla charged rape victims to pay for post-sexual assault medical exams, after the city cut funds during Palin's tenure that had previously covered the exams (Source)

$150: the cash payment offered by the Palin administration to hunters who turn in legs of freshly killed wolves gunned down from airplanes (Source)

3: the number of times during her first few weeks as mayor that Palin inquired with the Wasilla librarian about banning books (Source)

3: the number of months after the censorship discussion that Palin fired the librarian (Source)

100: the approximate number of Wasilla residents who rallied to support the librarian, prompting Palin to withdraw her termination letter (Source)

0: the number of foreign heads of state Palin has met (Source)

0: the number of commands Palin has issued as head of the Alaska National Guard (Source)

2: the number of times in Palin's ABC News interview that she said the word "nucular" (Source)

0: Wasilla's long-term debt when Palin took office in 1996 (Source)

$18.6 million: the long-term debt Palin racked up by the time she left office in 2002, amounting to about $3,000 per resident (Source)

$50,000: the amount of city funds Palin used without authorization to redecorate the Wasilla mayor's office, including adding flocked, red wallpaper that made it look "like a bordello," according to a former Wasilla City Council member (Source)

33: the percentage by which Palin increased the budget of Wasilla during her tenure, despite billing herself as a fiscal conservative and champion of smaller government (Source)

25: the percentage by which Palin raised the local sales tax in Wasilla to pay for a sports center, despite claims that she cut taxes (Source)

$27 million: the total amount of federal earmarks Palin secured for Wasilla's town of 6,700 people while she was mayor, thanks to the help of a Washington lobbyist with ties to indicted Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and convicted felon Jack Abramoff (Source)

3: the number of times John McCain specifically criticized earmarks requested by Sarah Palin when she was mayor of Wasilla, citing them as examples of wasteful spending (Source)

$453 million: the total amount of earmarks Palin has asked U.S. taxpayers to fund for Alaska projects over the past two years, despite McCain's insistence that she hasn't sought earmarks or special-interest spending from Congress (Source)

$506.34: the amount of federal earmarks Alaska residents will receive per capita in 2008, the highest level of any state (Source)

$223 million: the earmark secured for the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" that Palin initially supported before opposing (Source)

$223 million: the amount of money designated for the "Bridge to Nowhere" that Palin ultimately used for other projects, rather than returning it to the federal government (Source)

20: the percentage of domestic energy that Palin claims Alaska produces (Source)

3.5: the actual percentage share of domestic energy Alaska produces (Source)

0: the number of people in America who know more about energy than Sarah Palin, according to John McCain (Source)

$600,000: the loss at which Palin sold the governor's jet after making a show of placing it on eBay. It was eventually sold to a Palin campaign contributor who paid $2.1 million (more than 20% less than the original $2.7 million purchase price). (Source)

1: the number of private tanning beds Palin installed in the governor's mansion after taking office (Source)

1.5: the approximate number of hours Palin spent on a refueling layover in Ireland, which the McCain campaign cited as part of her foreign policy experience (Source)

0: the actual amount of time Palin spent in Iraq during a 2007 visit to the region, despite the McCain campaign's claim she had visited the Iraq battle zone. She never made it beyond the Khabari Alawazem Crossing in Kuwait. (Source)

2006: the year in which Palin declared she favors abstinence-only education and that "the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support" (Source)

2008: the year in which Palin's 17-year-old daughter was impregnated by a self-described "f***ing redneck," who wrote on his MySpace page "I don't want kids" and "ya f*** with me I'll kick ass" (Source)

9: the number of U.S. Geological Survey studies concluding that the habitat of Alaska's polar bears is threatened by global warming, which Palin discounted as "insufficent evidence" when she sued the Bush administration to overturn its decision to list polar bears under the Endangered Species Act (Source)

5: the number of colleges Palin attended over six years before graduating in 1987 from the University of Idaho with a major in journalism (Source)

500: the number of Fortune 500 companies Sarah Palin is not qualified to run, according to McCain adviser Carly Fiorina (Source)

50: the number of days after Palin announced she "will fully cooperate" with an ethics investigation into the "Troopergate" scandal that the McCain campaign announced she was "unlikely to cooperate" because it had been "hijacked" by Obama operatives. The probe was unanimously authorized by a bipartisan panel of eight Alaska Republicans and four Democrats. (Source)

28: the number of days prior to accepting the vice presidential offer that Palin said she couldn't entertain the idea "until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day" (Source)

15: the number of minutes McCain and Palin spent together during their only meeting prior to the interview in which McCain offered her the vice presidential slot (Source)

Robert J. Elisberg Robert J. Elisberg: In Praise of Sarah Palin

I've been wrongly under the assumption that Joe Biden would run circles around Sarah Palin in their upcoming debate. It seemed logical -- when Georgia was attacked by Russia, its president Michael Saakashvili called Biden in to help.

However, if people who know far more about Sarah Palin than I do say she is the most amazingly-qualified person in the Republican Party to be Vice President of the United States, a brilliant mind, who am I to say otherwise?

The Republicans have convinced me. If they say that Sarah Palin is that tremendous a choice on every level, then I am willing to call their bluff and raise the bar high for her. Therefore, let me say it out loud: Sarah Palin will sweep the floor with Joe Biden. She is easily the favorite in her debate. Joe Biden is the woeful underdog. The bar is so low for Joe Biden, he can't limbo under it. He doesn't stand a chance. Yes, Sarah Palin is that remarkable. That's what the Republicans tell me. And I am willing to take them at their word.

"She is strong. She is capable. She is articulate. She will not take any prisoners."
-- Governor M. Jodi Rell (R-CT)

That's an near-impossible combination to beat. But what makes it so impressive is that when the U.S. has to go to war against Russia and Iran, like Sarah Palin anticipates, not taking any prisoners will come in really handy. Now, include our current wars with Iraq and Afghanistan. If we took prisoners in all four, there wouldn't be room in any American prisons, let alone Gitmo. So, score a big one for Sarah Palin.

"(Sarah Palin is) already one of the most successful governors in America -- and the most popular. And she already has more executive experience than the entire Democratic ticket."
-- Rudy Giuliani, former mayor (R-NYC)

Most popular governor. Bam! Take that Mitt Romney. Take that Arnold Schwarzenegger, and you're the "Last Action Hero" and won Mr. Universe. And bam, she's clearly more popular than both Charlie Crist and Tim Pawlenty put together, because John McCain didn't pick them to be vice president. Take that!

And by the way, Sarah Palin has more executive experience than even John McCain! You'd think that was almost impossible. That's how great Sarah Palin is.

"She's functioned as a governor, she's the commander-in-chief of a national guard, she's a former mayor, she's the former chair of an energy commission in Alaska.
-- Tim Pawlenty, governor (R-MN)

It's like sensory overload. Talk about showing the breadth of Sarah Palin's qualities. Her legendary military tactics kept foreign enemies so terrified of attacking Alaska that she never had to use her national guard powers even once. She learned everything necessary for the energy commission in only 11 months and quit. She was so great as mayor of Wasilla that her vote total increased for her second term by an amazing 50-percent, from 616 votes to 909. And for well-over one year, she functioned as governor of a state more populous than even Fort Worth, Texas. You almost want to say, "And on the seventh day she rested."

"What she's done in Alaska is what we would hope to do in Washington."
-- Lindsay Graham, U.S. senator (R-SC)

We can only hope. While George Bush created a $482 billion deficit, Sarah Palin was able to keep her budget deficit in Wasilla down to a mere $20 million. All Washington has to do is follow her plan and cut the population of America to 5,500 people.

(Sarah Palin) "got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States."
-- Mike Huckabee, former governor (R-AR)

While Joe Biden got 75,000 votes running for president, Sarah Palin had 1,525 in her two campaigns as mayor which shows that votes obviously count for more in Alaska because Mike Huckabee is a former minister and wouldn't lie. How remarkable does someone have to be to receive votes that count 50 times more than normal?!

"She's got foreign policy experience because you can see Russia from part of Alaska."
-- John McCain, U.S. senator (R-AZ), Republican nominee for president

Trust me, Sarah Palin's expertise is even better than this, if that's possible. Because you can see the Pacific Ocean from Alaska, she's also an expert on seals. You can see Canada from Alaska, so she's an expert on beer. You can see the moon from all of Alaska, which means she can run NASA. And she can see into the bedroom of her neighbors the Bendersons, so she's an expert on their sex life.

Sarah Palin has so much foreign policy experience from spotting Russia, that's why she never even felt a need to ever get a passport before a year ago.

"She could not be a better vice-presidential pick."
-- Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List, that works to elect women opposing abortion rights

This is big. Even John McCain couldn't get Marjorie Dennenfelser's support, since he's only a man. Moreover, Sen. McCain also couldn't get it because he doesn't support abortion right in all cases, as does Sarah Palin, so that's doubly better.

"It is an outstanding choice."
-- Olympia Snowe, U.S. senator (R-ME)

No reason given, no reason necessary. 'Nuff said.

"She is a courageous, successful reformer, who is not afraid to take on the establishment. She has run a municipality and she has run a state."
-- Fred Thompson, former U.S.senator (R-TN)

When the police chief and head librarian of Wasilla didn't support her enough, Sarah Palin reformed the town and fired them. When the Chief of Public Safety wouldn't fire her ex-brother-in-law, Sarah Palin reformed Alaska and fired him, too. Because of past charges of sexual harassment, her own replacement resigned in two weeks, which is why we need courageous and successful reformers like Sarah Palin.

By the way, Rudy Giuliani has been mayor of a municipality, but not run a state. That's why John McCain didn't pick him. Jeb Bush has only run a state, but not been a mayor -which shows why he wasn't picked. (Also, there's all that "Bush" baggage.)

"She knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America."
-- John McCain, U.S. senator (R-AZ), Republican nominee for president

Bam! Take that T. Boone Pickens. Take that George Bush, even. Take that Dick Cheney. And Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman. And take that Gary Luqette, president of Chevron. And the presidents of every oil company. It's a perceptive eye like this, picking the top expert no one else could see, that has made John McCain his own man. With his own facts.

"She's a real person and she has handled real problems."
-- Pete Dominici, United States senator (R-NM)

With Joe Biden burdened by being a fake person, and gallivanting around to help with foreign governments, Sarah Palin has dealt with real problems, like her family, crabgrass, praying to God for an oil pipeline, and failing to sell merchandise on eBay. When she has to handle Russia or North Korea.. Or Mahmoud Ahmandinejad, the president of Iran, they won't know what hit them, because she's dealt with pot holes. Real problems.

"Obviously, she is very, very well-qualified."
-- Rose Ann Scotti, former Republican mayor of Colts Neck, NJ

Clearly, who better to know whether the former major of a hamlet has the qualifications to be President of the United States than the former mayor of another hamlet?!

"She is smart and she is a unique combination of toughness and grace."
- Linda Lingle, governor (R-Hawaii)

Think how far Mussolini could have gone if only he'd known how to use a hanky. When she made the tough decisions to fire the police chief, librarian and Chief of Public Safety, her letters of dismissal were written on fine-weave stationery.

Sarah Palin is tough enough to avoid the pressure to be interviewed by "Face the Nation," "Meet the Press, " Wall Street Journal and more, like all other candidates always, and yet gracefully return to her home in Alaska. If she can be that tough avoiding basic questions about herself, think how incredible she'll be facing down Vladimir Putin and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in wars. But with grace.

"I'm so proud that she has displayed the kind of judgment and she has the experience and judgment as an executive... "
-- John McCain, U.S. senator (R-AZ), Republican nominee for president

Judgment galore. Officials of the Alaskan Independence Party are first to none in admiring that judgment, saying that Sarah Palin once attended their very own convention, which has been pushing for Alaskans to secede from the United States.

If Alaska left the union, Sarah Palin could become leader of an entire nation. Talk about qualifications. And this overlaps with John McCain's own vision. His TV ads have run the motto -- "Country First." The AIP's motto is -- "Alaska First -- Alaska Always." That's almost exactly the same. And Alaska is part of the "country"! Unless it secedes.

"Her record has been so strong for so long."
-- Grover Norquist, Republican lobbyist and former registered agent of Angola

For someone who has said he wants to get government "down to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub," this is no small praise. He doesn't endorse just anybody. Just people he believes can help drown government.

"She has a lot of substance."
-- Carly Fiorina, Republican McCain advisor and former campaign spokesperson

That's exactly what they saw in her in Wasilla, and it's why 616 citizens stood up and proudly voted for her.

"It was awesome. She just put it out there that she does have experience, and she was funny at the same time."
-- Hanna Malaihollo, 18-year-old alternate delegate (R-CA)

Sarah Palin can convince young people that she has experience simply because she says so, offsetting their natural aversion to John McCain. What can't she do?!! And she's funny. Jon Stewart is only funny. That's why he's not nominated for vice president.

"She's a partner and a soul mate. I mean, it's remarkable. It's a remarkable person."
-- John McCain, U.S. senator (R-AZ), Republican nominee for president

It's not every presidential candidate so smitten that he's willing to express his undying love in public. The only other one was Jimmy Carter, who admitted lusting in his heart. You don't see Barack Obama calling Joe Biden his soul mate.

Not to worry, Family Values folk, this is political and spiritual love. Cindy McCain has nothing to be concerned about! (Unless she gets in a disfiguring accident. Or loses her money.)

"I am prepared. I need no on-the-job training. I wasn't a mayor for a short period of time. I wasn't a governor for a short period of time."
- Sarah Palin, governor (R-AK), Republican nominee for president

Considering that most fruit flies live less than two months, Sarah Palin has the preparation to be President of the United States of 22 lifetimes.

Go America! Go Sarah Palin! Go fruit flies!

And look out, Joe Biden. You are in so much trouble. The Republican Party says so: the most qualified person in the G.O.P. is coming to get you. And her name is Sarah Palin. Game over. She's got it all. From the Republican elite to the grassroots, they know Sarah Palin, and know she's got it all. Accept your fate, Joe. She's tough, a pit bull, she's going to crush you. But the good news is, she'll do it with grace.

Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin
Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaks at a campaign rally on Sept.13 in Nevada - Max Whittaker / Getty Images

The cryptic Internet posse known for its attacks on Scientology may have found a new target in Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Several self-proclaimed members of Anonymous, a loosely organized group associated with the message board 4Chan, apparently breached the Alaska governor's personal Yahoo! account ( late Tuesday night.

The hacker posted screen shots of two e-mails, a Yahoo! inbox, a contact list and several family photos to, a site that anonymously hosts leaked government and corporate documents. Another screen shot purportedly shows a draft e-mail from Palin's account to campaign aide Ivy Frye alerting her of the breach:

This email was hacked by anonymous, but I took no part in that. I simply got the password back, and changed it so no further damage could be done. Please get in contact with Sarah Palin and inform her the new password on this account is samsonite1.

Thank you and best wishes,
the good anonymous

The screen shots quickly spread across the Web to blogs like Gawker.

The two e-mail exchanges appear to involve state politicians — Alaskan Lieut. Governor Sean Parnell and Amy McCorkell, whom Palin appointed to the Governor's Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse last year. Wired magazine reported that McCorkell confirmed the e-mail's authenticity, though she later refused to comment to the Associated Press.

Palin's other Yahoo! account ( had already been hacked, so to speak, by federal authorities who are investigating her role in the firing of Walt Monegan, Alaska's public safety commissioner. Critics charge that Palin fired Monegan for refusing to dismiss her former brother-in-law from his job as a state trooper. (The scandal has already earned a -gate suffix.) After Tuesday's hacks were made public, both private accounts were deleted — an act that could technically constitute destruction of evidence.

The Alaska governor could also face charges for conducting official state business using her personal, unarchived e-mail account (a crime); some critics accuse her of skirting freedom-of-information laws in doing so. An Alaska Republican activist is trying to force Palin to release more than 1,100 e-mails she withheld from a public-records request, the Washington Post reported last week.

Rick Davis, campaign manager for the McCain-Palin campaign, issued a statement hours after the e-mail screen shots were posted: "This is a shocking invasion of the governor's privacy and a violation of law. The matter has been turned over to the appropriate authorities, and we hope that anyone in possession of these e-mails will destroy them. We will have no further comment." The Secret Service requested copies of the leaked e-mails from the Associated Press, but the news service did not comply. CNN reported that the FBI has also launched an investigation.

This is not the first time computer habits have become an issue for the McCain-Palin team. In January, John McCain told reporters that he didn't know how to check e-mail. When asked whether he prefers a Mac or a PC, McCain replied, "Neither. I am an illiterate that has to rely on my wife for all of the assistance that I can get." He later added, "I am learning to get online myself." He might want to stay offline for the time being.

FBI on the trail of hackers after Palin's emails made public

· Photos, messages and address book made public
· Claims that candidate broke transparency rules

FBI officials and secret service investigators were trying yesterday to track down hackers who broke into an email account belonging to US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Information from the account, including her emails, digital photos and online address book, was posted on the internet on Tuesday, after an unidentified individual guessed the password to the Alaska governor's personal email account.

Screenshots and information were made available on the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, which defended its decision saying the hack proved Palin was violating rules on keeping public records by sending official emails through her private Yahoo account.

"Governor Palin has come under criticism for using private email accounts to conduct government business and in the process avoid transparency laws," the website said. "The list of correspondence, together with the account name, appears to reinforce the criticism."

Although some of the emails, from an account held at, appeared to be private, other screenshots showed messages to state government aides, as well as a draft letter to California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The hack was initially attributed to an activist group known as Anonymous, a group of internet vigilantes and anarchists which has previously locked horns with scientologists and internet paedophiles. However, yesterday an individual claiming to speak for the group said that Anonymous would never break the law by hacking into somebody else's email account.

Federal investigators are examining details of the hack to determine the identities of those responsible. The Wikileaks website became unavailable soon after the incident, though it remains unclear why.

A spokesman for the Republican presidential campaign said the attack was invasive and unwarranted. "We hope that anyone in possession of the emails will destroy them," he added.

The use of non-government email services to conduct official business has been criticised in the past. Official government communications are required to be preserved under federal law. Without using official communications channels, it remains unclear whether emails from private accounts are being correctly kept.

Last year the issue came to the fore after it emerged that the Bush administration had been using private accounts to conduct White House business.

A number of senior Bush advisers, including former political strategist Karl Rove, were discovered to have been using private accounts. Documents lost as a result included email conversations about the controversial dismissal of a number of United States attorneys.

The attack on Palin's account is likely to have stemmed from recent speculation about her decision to fire the Alaska public safety commissioner in July. An independent investigation is under way to examine allegations that the governor sacked Walter Monegan because of his refusal to dismiss a state trooper, Mike Wooten - who happened to be locked in a custody battle with Palin's sister.

The trooper row is due to come to a head today when Alaskan legislators are scheduled to open a hearing. Subpoenas have been issued to 13 witnesses, including Sarah Palin's husband, Todd.

The owner of the software used by the hacker or hackers to protect their identity said that he believed it would be possible to identify the culprit. Gabriel Ramuglia told news website The Register: "Since they were dumb enough to post a full screenshot that showed most of the URL I should be able to find that in my log."

Anonymous claims it wasn't them. Apparently B-chan got access to Governor Palin's emails. We've heard she was a racist, got to wonder if this is real or fake:

But we know the below was fake:

Sarah Palin Bikini Photos Are Fake

Sarah Palin Hot Photos Bikini

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has kicked up a media firestorm since John McCain announced she would be his vice presidential running mate.

In the two weeks since the announcement, Palin, 44, has been attacked for being a bad mom, an inexperienced bimbo and a vapid ex-beauty contestant.

Many people have also been frantically searching the Internet for sexy photos of Sarah Palin, and apparently hit pay dirt when saucy photos of Palin toting a rifle wearing a star-spangled bikini were uncovered. However, those photos--like the rumors that Palin's son Trig is actually her grandson--are fake. new yorker cover

Whether you agree with Palin's politics or not (personally, I don't), attacking her teenage daughter and mothering skills and manufacturing sexist images in order to undermine her credibility is a transparent attack on her gender. Sadly, we as a country just can't move past our prejudices. On the other hand, is this any worse than the New Yorker magazine cover which featured Barack Obama and his wife Michelle as gun-toting Muslim terrorists? Here's a novel idea: Let's just stick to the issues.

Before making up your mind, consider these Palin Gems:

    1. Palin doesn’t believe global warming has been proven.

    2. Palin wants to teach creationism alongside evolution in public schools.

    3. Palin believes abortion should be illegal, even in cases of rape and incest, except in limited cases in which it might be necessary to save the life of the mother.

    4. Despite saying she has many gay friends, Palin is against gay marriage.

For more on Sarah Palin, see below:

Poll: Palin’s Favorable Rating Slips 10 Points in 3 Days

More evidence of a slide, cited by Newsweek:
Over the course of a single weekend, Palin went from being the most popular White House hopeful to the least.

Since Sept. 13, Palin’s unfavorables have climbed from 30 percent to 36 percent. Meanwhile, her favorables have slipped from 52 percent to 48 percent. That’s a three-day net swing of -10 points, and it leaves her in the Sept. 15 Diageo/Hotline tracking poll tied for the smallest favorability split (+12) of any of the Final Four. Over the course of a single weekend, in other words, Palin went from being the most popular White House hopeful to the least.

What happened? I’d argue that Palin’s considerable novelty is starting to wear off. In part it’s the result of a steady stream of unhelpful stories: her unfamiliarity with the Bush Doctrine during last Thursday’s interview with Charles Gibson … her refusal to cooperate with the Troopergate investigation; her repeated stretching of the truth on everything from earmarks to the Bridge to Nowhere to the amount of energy her state produces. That stuff has a way of inspiring disapproval and eroding one’s support. (Interestingly, Palin’s preparedness numbers–about 50 percent yes, 45 percent no–haven’t budged.)

Caveats apply, of course. This is one data set, not yet a trend, but it could be a glimpse into future direction, especially if McCain and Palin continue to shred the credibility of their ticket by persistently lying about themselves, each other and their opponents.

There is a precedent for a precipitous slide, however. In 1984, the only other time a woman was named to a major party ticket, Democrats Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro received a nine-point bounce after their convention, but Ronald Reagan, the incumbent, went on to win in a 49-state landslide, receiving 58.8 percent to Mondale-Ferraro’s 40.6 percent in the national popular vote.

Admittedly, any comparison between Republicans McCain-Palin and Democrats Mondale-Ferraro is superficial and, yes, sexist, especially because it is unclear, particularly from this poll, what role, if any, gender may be playing in Palin’s nosedive.

In 1984, Ferraro was undermined by questions about her husband’s business dealings, and her ticket’s opponent, Reagan, was still popular, in part because the economy had weathered the recession in 1982, and his administration’s illegal deals with terrorists in the Iran-Contra affair did not occur until the following year, and weren’t revealed until 1986.

The problems facing McCain and Palin today are primarily of their own making. Both have been caught lying on issues big and small. And there are serious questions even from conservatives about the readiness of Palin — the short-term governor of Alaska, the 47th largest state; a former beauty pageant Miss Congeniality winner; and sportscaster — to become president, if McCain, who is 72 years old, were unable to fulfill his term.

Momentum Shift Complete -- McCain Not Leading In Any Daily Tracking Poll

The momentum shift away from John McCain (R) is now complete as none of the four daily tracking polls show him in the lead this morning. The final holdout -- Rasmussen -- now has the race tied, and it's the only daily tracking that shows McCain within 4 points. I suspect the combination of the economic news, the dropping approval ratings for the McCain-Palin ticket, and the fade of the convention bounce has pushed the race back to the Barack Obama (D) column. ...

Mark Nickolas is the Managing Editor of Political Base, and this story was from his original post, "Momentum Shift Complete -- McCain Not Leading In Any Daily Tracking Poll"

Troopergate probe appears to be unraveling

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The abuse-of-power investigation of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was unraveling Wednesday, with most key witnesses refusing to testify, new legal maneuvering and heightened Republican pressure to delay the probe until after Election Day.

Palin initially welcomed the investigation, saying "hold me accountable," but she has increasingly opposed it since Republican presidential candidate John McCain tapped her as his vice presidential running mate.

In a reversal of position, a key Democratic lawmaker said Wednesday he may convene the committee that is conducting the investigation into whether Palin dismissed her public safety commissioner when he would not fire a state trooper involved in a bitter divorce with her sister.

Some Republican members of the committee have asked for such a meeting, to consider delaying the probe or replacing Democratic state Sen. Hollis French as its manager. The investigation's conclusions are supposed to be released by Oct. 10. The Legislative Council, made up of 10 Republicans and four Democrats, had unanimously approved launching the probe.

A lawyer for five Alaska Republican legislators suing for a delay of the investigation known as Troopergate said he will wait _ but not too long _ to see what the Legislative Council, a joint bipartisan oversight panel, does before asking a judge for an injunction.

The chairman of the council, Democratic state Sen. Kim Elton, said he would poll other council members on whether to meet.

Elton had previously refused to call such a meeting before panel investigator Steven Branchflower issued his report. In a letter Wednesday to House Speaker John Harris, Elton said circumstances had changed.

He said the situation had become so politicized it was difficult to imagine it could get any worse. Elton said he used to fear that any debate without a report would be "run through the prism of presidential politics and focus on motives." But now, he added, the debate is "taking place through press conferences and lawsuits."

Elton also sent a letter to Attorney General Talis Colberg, a Republican appointed by Palin, who on Tuesday said he would refuse to allow 10 subpoenaed state employees to testify, despite assurances from Colberg's staff last week that they would testify if certain interpretations of state law were agreed upon.

Contending the deal had been broken, Elton said, "Bluntly, I feel like Charlie Brown after Lucie moved the football."

The McCain campaign said on Monday that Palin, who was not subpoenaed, was unlikely to cooperate.

One of the witnesses summoned last week, former Palin legislative director John Bitney, said he testified Tuesday, but wouldn't say what he revealed. He said he spoke only of his seven-month tenure with the Palin administration that ended in July 2007.

"I spoke on what happened during the time I was employed there, and I told the truth," said Bitney.

Bitney said he felt he didn't have a choice. "If I had a publicly funded attorney telling me I didn't have to honor the subpoena, it might have been different."

The two remaining witnesses subpoenaed are Todd Palin, the governor's husband, who was traveling with his wife in Ohio and Michigan, and Murlene Wilkes, a state contractor.

Ignoring a legislative subpoena is punishable by a fine up to $500 and up to six months in jail, according to Alaska state statutes.

Harris, who two months ago supported the investigation, also now questions its impartiality and raised the possibility of delaying the findings, which would obviously be limited if virtually none of the key witnesses testified.

While appearing to waver, Elton also said delaying the report until after the election would "inflame debate about whether the council was taking a political position."

Kevin Clarkson, lawyer for the Republican lawmakers, said Wednesday that he would wait to see whether the council meets before seeking an injunction to force the issue. "But we're not going to wait too long," he said.

Meanwhile, Alaska Senate President Lyda Green, a Republican, said she does not believe the investigation will collapse or be delayed by "outside interlopers" trying to protect Palin.

"I see no reason why we need to have infighting over a previously authorized investigation that still has its original purpose," said Green, a Palin critic.

She said the attempt to block the investigation will lead to closer scrutiny of how Palin and her administration's stories have changed.

"Go back and compare all the statements of everybody in charge: 'We'll be happy to testify, we don't need any subpoenas, we don't have anything to hide.' Now the implication is, 'We have something to hide,'" Green said.

___ Associated Press Writer Steve Quinn contributed to this report.

heh ...